We have been having so much fun completing these Christmas STEM activities. Even though December is in full effect (as well as a supermoon!!), my kindergarten students are focused, engaged, and loving these centers. Each day I have added one or two STEM rotations into our morning centers and it has worked wonderfully. Not only are my students happy and engaged, they are working on many academic skills that I have embedded into the activities.
In December, I focus on shapes, patterns, and teen numbers in math. The common core objective states that kindergarten students will identify, name, and describe basic two–dimensional shapes, such as squares, triangles, circles, rectangles, and hexagons, presented in a variety of ways (e.g., with different sizes and orientations), as well as three-dimensional shapes such as cubes, cones, cylinders, and spheres.
The following STEM activities focus on these concepts in really fun ways.
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Can you build a Christmas tree out of Goobi magnetic rods and spheres?
For this center, I set out my magnetic rods and spheres (I got mine here: http://amzn.to/2nBMiZh) and a few books that showed my students pictures of pine trees. When my students got to this center, they were eager to complete the challenge.
While they were building, they naturally discussed what shapes they were building, counted the number of shapes they saw, and also conversed about the differences between two and three dimensional shapes.
They were so proud when they figured out ways to represent a Christmas tree using the Goobi pieces! Not only did they stretch their brains figuring out how to make the shape of a Christmas tree, but they noticed so many things about shapes. Through play-based learning, they observed triangles in different shapes and sizes, they recognized that a trapezoid can be made out of three triangles. They discovered that you could make bigger triangles out of smaller triangles and because they made these discoveries, they took ownership of and internalized these abstract concepts!
Can you build a house lit up with Christmas lights?
Magna-Tiles are amazing. They never get old, inspire creativity, and help students learn the geometric attributes of two and three dimensional shapes. We use them so often in the classroom yet this has been by far my students’ favorite STEM challenge thus far. Many times people will ask me how long I leave centers like this open for and it always depends on the center and interest level of my students. This center has been open for two weeks now and I don’t foresee it slowing down! Each day my students create more and more elaborate houses, neighborhoods, buildings, and creations.
Not only are they using teamwork, problem solving skills, and collaboration, but they also look beautiful.
As my students build their creations, they have been using such great math language.
I love that each and every day a new creation is built and students beam with pride as we observe the beauty of the lights, the reflections, and their creations.
For this activity, I created a Christmas tree out of plastic cups. Underneath each cup, I wrote down a teen number. The purpose of this center was to help my students practice their teen numbers and building them with base ten blocks. To complete the activity, my students took turns launching pom-poms into the cups and then collecting the correct number of base ten pieces as their points.
This center worked on so many concepts: force and motion, counting out base ten pieces, comparing numbers, recognizing teen numbers, problem solving skills, and perseverance.
Not only that, my students couldn’t get enough of it!
Can you create a maze out of Legos for our reindeer Hexbugs?
This has been another HUGE hit!
My students love creating mazes with our Legos and when you add in a Hexbug, it’s beyond fun… especially when the Hexbugs have reindeer antlers!
Can you create an ornament out of an orange and cloves?
To add a math element to the classic orange and clove Christmas activity, I added my ten frame dice that I purchased from Lakeshore. To complete the activity, my students rolled one die, then added that many cloves to their orange. (I used Clementines.)
My students loved the way it smelled when it was finished! I loved that they walked around to their friends eagerly saying, “You’ve got to smell this– it smells amazing!!”
Ten frame dice found here:
Can you build a Christmas tree at the light table?
The last STEM activity I will share with you today is another Christmas tree challenge. Using green cups and some transparent cylinders my students created beautiful Christmas trees! Once again, they explored attributes of shapes, the concept of balance, and told great stories as they worked!
I certainly hope that you enjoyed this edition of our Christmas STEM activity guide and that you will try some of the activities with your young learners!